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State Honoree

Monica Delizo

Maryland

Monica Delizo, 14, of Rockville, Md., an eighth-grader at Julius West Middle School, organized a school-wide book drive that collected more than 3,700 books for needy children. One day Monica happened to see someone throwing away a hundred boxes of children’s books. “I wondered how anyone could throw away one book, and he was throwing away hundreds,” said Monica. “I thought about how other kids would have enjoyed reading those books.” Hoping to put other unwanted books to good use, Monica suggested a book drive to fellow students and her school’s administration. With help from fellow students and teachers, she then made announcements, distributed flyers and put up posters, asking students to bring in books they no longer wanted. She also arranged to have students bring books as part of their admission charge to a school dance. Monica’s campaign ended up yielding 3,740 books for the local chapter of Boys and Girls Clubs of America and a nearby Ronald McDonald House. Monica and her fellow volunteers also visited some of the recipients and read to them. “This made me happy because I reached out and touched their hearts,” Monica said.